Jorge Martin edged out Aron Canet to win the opening round of the 2018 Moto3 season in Qatar. The two Spaniards fought out a race-long tussle with Martin’s superior straight-line speed ultimately making the difference, the Gresini rider winning by two hundredths of a second.
The race followed the pre-season form book with Martin, Canet and Leopard’s Enea Bastianini proving a class above the rest of the field. The leading group would shrink by a third on lap six with the Italian losing the front end of his Honda at turn six, leaving Martin and Canet along to dispute the victory while the thirteen-rider chase group now had a podium position in their sights.
At the front, Canet would often threaten a move down the start/finish straight, only to lose out in the slipstream of Martin’s no.88 machine. That pattern would continue all the way to the chequered flag with Jorge holding on despite leading the Estrella Galicia rider onto the home straight, hanging on by 0.023s.
Despite a poor start, the podium scrap looked to be heading John McPhee’s way but a crash on the final lap ruled him out. Italian youngster Marco Bezzecchi was also wiped out within sight of the flag as the riders attempted overtaking moves with increased desperation and eventually, Lorenzo Dalla Porta emerged in third for his maiden Moto3 rostrum on the sole remaining Leopard Honda.
Polesitter Niccolo Antonelli took fourth ahead of leading KTM rider Gabriel Rodrigo with Fabio Di Giannantonio rounding out the top six. Japanese duo Kaito Toba and Ayumu Sasaki were seventh and eighth respectively with Jakub Kornfeil and Andrea Migno completing the top ten, less than a second shy of the rostrum.
Moto3 Grand Prix of Qatar: Race Result
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